Detroit Electric set to launch U.S.-made Tesla rival

Detroit Electric will assemble its electric vehicles in the U.S., featuring a design not unlike the Tesla Roadster.

Detroit Electric teaser for expected April 3 introduction. It may resemble the Lotus Elise.
Detroit Electric teaser for expected April 3 introduction. It may resemble the Lotus Elise. Detroit Electric

Storied-brand Detroit Electric is teasing an electric vehicle that will take on the Tesla.

"After an absence of over 70 years, Detroit Electric...has returned to the legendary Motor City, promising job creation and a range of exciting 100% electric vehicles for the mass market," the company said in a press release.

The first model will be "a limited-edition two-seat sports car," the company said.

And it will be assembled in Michigan with production to start in August. "We are proud to become the fourth car manufacturer born out of Detroit," according to the statement.

The vehicle hints of a design like the Lotus Elise-based Tesla Roadster.

Which shouldn't be surprising, as the Detroit Electric brand was resurrected in 2008 by Albert Lam, who was formerly Group chief executive of the Lotus Engineering Group and is now Detroit Electric's chairman and Group CEO.

The brand has a storied past. Detroit Electric was founded in 1907 and, ironically, the electric car industry was probably more vibrant then than it is today.

"Early in the last century the electric vehicle industry was flourishing in Detroit...Detroit Electric was...selling more electric vehicles than any other company," according to the company.

Detroit Electric made about 13,000 electric cars, which it describes an "electric vehicle production world record for the twentieth century."

Notable customers at that time included Thomas Edison, Mamie Eisenhower, John D. Rockefeller Jr. and Clara Ford, the wife of Henry Ford.

But don't expect to be able to run out a buy one unless you have well over a hundred thousand dollars burning a hole in your pocket. The car is expected to retail for about $135,000, according to reports, with 2,500 slated for annual production.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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